April 17, 2014

The Real Green Machine

(Re-posted from my column in The Brenner Brief)

CO2 not the villain in global warming fight

global warming fight
Appalachian Cove Forest|CREDIT: Wiki Commons

Global warming fight pointing fingers at CO2

A recent Reuters article has a headline which illustrates just how insane the global warming fight has become.  Without the least bit of embarrassment or for that matter objective analysis Reuters headline reads “Act fast to curb global warming or extract CO2 from the air-UN.” Extract CO2 from the air?
The entire premise of the “man-made” global warming hypothesis is predicated on a narrative, a narrative which itself is predicated on pseudo-science.  The narrative is that CO2 (carbon dioxide) being a greenhouse gas is warming the atmosphere and man’s burning of fossil fuels is responsible for this increased CO2  and thus global warming. The first point that needs to be understood is that CO2 is not toxic, not pollution and not even that “smokey” substance coming out of smoke stacks or car exhausts you see every time a news agency does a report on “climate change.”  Carbon dioxide is a harmless invisible trace gas that is vital for all life on planet Earth.  Does the term “carbon based life” ring a bell?
Everything on earth is made up of combinations of different elements – all of which can be found on the periodic table. Considering that the periodic table contains 118 elements itseems a pity that organic life tends to feature only five or six of those elements in any vast quantities. The main one being carbon. It would be impossible for life on earth to exist without carbon. Carbon is the main component of sugars, proteins, fats, DNA, muscle tissue, pretty much everything in your body…
Carbon dioxide is after all what we exhale, perhaps the UN ought to recommend periods of mandatory breath holding as a means to “extract” CO2 from the air.  But Co2, what little of it that there is in the air, is absolutely vital to our planet.   As the renowned physicist Freeman Dyson explains:
“The fundamental reason why carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is critically important to biology is that there is so little of it. A field of corn growing in full sunlight in the middle of the day uses up all the carbon dioxide within a meter of the ground in about five minutes.  If the air were not constantly stirred by convection currents and winds, the corn would stop growing.”
The Reuters article gives away this important fact when they explain one of the methods being contemplated to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Theproposal which ironically is listed under the sub-heading of “Riskier Options” in the article is this:
Simpler methods to extract greenhouse gases from the air are to plant trees, which soak up greenhouse gases as they grow.
The truth is that this “simpler method” this “Riskier Option” is actually an ongoing natural process that needs no administration from an international political body, it is called the carbon cycle.  This particular aspect of CO2  extraction  has been a part of Earth’s ecosystem for millions of years.  Even if you buy into the idea that “man-made” carbon dioxide is heating the Earth any place outside of computer model forecasts of a political and financially motivate cadre of activist scientists, Old Ma Nature is fully capable of absorbing our excesses. In fact nature thrives on this particular man-made excess.
Back in 2003 as the global warming scare was beginning to be hyped as a cataclysmic man-made disaster a group of scientists at NASA’s Earth Observatory published an article, entitled “Global Garden Gets Greener” where they reached the following conclusion:
Leaving aside for a moment the deforestation and other land cover change that continue to accompany an ever-growing human population, the last two decades of the twentieth century were a good time to be a plant on planet Earth. In many parts of the global garden, the climate grew warmer, wetter, and sunnier, and despite a few El Nino-related setbacks, plants flourished for the most part.
The study represented a time frame when the Earth actually was warming. The fact that there has been no discernible heating of the Earth’s atmosphere for sixteen years ought to have buried this agenda driven “theory” but given the investment in it by so many powerful institutions and governments it is doubtful it will die an easy death.  The lack of warming however does not mean that mankind has not continued to pour this plant food, CO2, into the atmosphere in ever-increasing quantities.  This disconnect between the climate cult’s projections for warming as opposed to the reality of the world we live in, has caused an ever more frantic effort by the cult to explain away reality.
It has also been a boon for plant life on Earth, though propaganda by the “experts” would lead you to believe the opposite in 2009. Despite  evidence to the contrary and relying only on their cherished computer models the alarmist scientific community declared that the Amazon forest would soon wither and die away due to droughts. This they proclaimed was the direct result of mankind’s insatiable desire to advance through the burning of fossil fuels.  Their Cassandra calls were echoed throughout the media such as this from the UK Guardian :
Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rain forest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises. The research, by some of Britain’s leading experts on climate change, shows that even severe cuts in deforestation and carbon emissions will fail to save the emblematic South American jungle, the destruction of which has become a powerful symbol of human impact on the planet. Up to 85% of the forest could be lost if spiraling greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the experts said. But even under the most optimistic climate change scenarios, the destruction of large parts of the forest is “irreversible”
Irreversible is a pretty definitive claim and one that one would hope that scientists would not use lightly or without definitive proof, but science just isn’t what it used to be and what was irreversible in 2009, well we shall let the facts speak for themselves.
On the home page of Prof. Ranga B. Myneni’s Climate and Vegetation research group in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University is this remarkable map of the planet Earth.
What is remarkable about this map is not the areas that are green, you would expect that, but these areas are where the Earth has become greenerin the past three decades. In other words what you are seeing based on actual satellite observations is the greening of the Earth. But it gets better.Studies show the reasons behind this remarkable greening and this is where the reality of life’s natural processes deviate sharply from the computer model world of the climate cult. The study shows that 50% of this increased greening is the result of “climate constraint” e.g.temperature, water or solar radiation having been relieved, meaning improvements for plant growth.   For example an area of land where plant growth was once limited due to lack of water has, in the past three decades, seen an increase in water and therefore there has been additional “greening”. But the more remarkable finding is that the reason for the remaining increased greening is the direct result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.
CO2, as we were taught in grade school biology far from being a killer is in fact the very breath of life, it is after all what you breathe out, and plants need in order to grow and provide us with oxygen.  Ninety Eight percent of oxygen in the atmosphere is the result of photosynthesis by plants and other organisms; photosynthesis is not possible without carbon dioxide.
This reality could no longer be denied when in 2013 a group of scientists had to back track on their previous predictions  of the Amazon’s demise and admit that they had not factored in the positive effect of  CO2 on the Amazon’s ecosystem and like the gods they believe they are issued a reprieve for the worlds largest rain forest. Evidently nothing is irreversible or actually “settled science”.  From Reuters in 2013:
The Amazon rainforest is less vulnerable to die off because of global warming than widely believed because the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide also acts as an airborne fertilizer, a study showed on Wednesday. The boost to growth from CO2, the main gas from burning fossil fuels blamed for causing climate change, was likely to exceed damaging effects of rising temperatures this century such as drought, it said.
In fact the new study which factors in the positive effects of CO2 shows that the nasty bi-product of the industrial age, CO2, is a net positive to the Amazon rain forest.  The cult in its quest to scare the world into submission to their agenda had chosen to leave the calculations, intentionally or not, out of their revered climate models until the science showing the opposite results became overwhelming. It is entirely possible that climate models were not previously capable of forecasting the positive effects of CO2 on plant life however the fact that CO2 is a plant fertilizer and is a boon to plant life is not some new scientific discovery, it is well-known biological factgoing back to the eighteenth century.  They just chose to ignore that grade school biology in order to advance their doom and gloom “scenarios.”
The simple truth is that far from being the scourge of planet Earth, CO2 is its life milk.  Mankind in our advancement from caves to space has remarkably, some might say divinely, stumbled upon a green machine which we should proudly embrace called the Industrial Revolution. Carbon Dioxide released by our burning of fossil fuels far from being destructive is in fact a blessing to both plants and mankind and that is the reality which is being denied by a scientific community which has lost all perspective in its quest to advance political causes.

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